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Sep 1, 2019

Blockchain Apogee

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, space

The astronaut training billionaire Richard Branson to be the first passenger on Virgin Galactic has seen the Earth from 56 miles away. Now, the long-time bitcoin advocate wants to share what she saw: how blockchain and other technologies are enabling a borderless world.

Sep 1, 2019

A Very Fast, Very Safe, Very SLIMM Nuclear Reactor

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

The SLLIM is a liquid sodium nuclear fast reactor that generates 10 to 100 MW for many years, even decades, without refueling. It can’t meltdown, can operate without water, is factory fabricated and shipped to the construction site where it is installed below ground in a seismic-resistant cocoon.

Sep 1, 2019

Ochis Coffee releases a new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds

Posted by in category: futurism

Ukrainian optical company Ochis Coffee is introducing two stylish new sunglasses this year, both made from coffee grounds. Find out more about this eyewear.

Sep 1, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Now a ‘Catastrophic Category 5’ Storm

Posted by in category: climatology

Hurricane Dorian is now a “catastrophic Category 5” storm and the strongest on modern record as it approaches the northwestern Bahamas in the Caribbean, according to a National Hurricane Center update today (Sept. 1).

As of 11 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), Dorian has maximum wind speeds of 180 mph (285 km/h) as the storm churns about 20 miles (30 km) east of Great Abaco Island, the NHC wrote in the update. The storm is about 205 miles (330 km) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

“Devastating hurricane conditions are expected in the Abacos Islands very soon and these conditions will spread across Grand Bahama Island later today,” NASA officials said today in a morning update.

Sep 1, 2019

Candidate sites for SpaceX Starship Mars landings revealed

Posted by in category: space travel

Several images labelled as “Candidate Landing Site for SpaceX Starship in Arcadia Region” were found in the latest data release from University of Arizona.

Sep 1, 2019

Humans and Neanderthals Kept Breeding—and Breeding—for Ages

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Humans today are mosaics, our genomes rich tapestries of interwoven ancestries. With every fossil discovered, with every DNA analysis performed, the story gets more complex: We, the sole survivors of the genus Homo, harbor genetic fragments from other closely related but long-extinct lineages. Modern humans are the products of a sprawling history of shifts and dispersals, separations and reunions—a history characterized by far more diversity, movement and mixture than seemed imaginable a mere decade ago.

Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences.

But it’s one thing to say that Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of modern Europeans, or that the recently discovered Denisovans interbred with some older mystery group, or that they all interbred with each other. It’s another to provide concrete details about when and where those couplings occurred. “We’ve got this picture where these events are happening all over the place,” said Aylwyn Scally, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Cambridge. “But it’s very hard for us to pin down any particular single event and say, yeah, we’re really confident that that one happened — unless we have ancient DNA.”

Sep 1, 2019

Elon Musk: Humanity Is a Kind of ‘Biological Boot Loader’ for AI

Posted by in categories: biological, Elon Musk, robotics/AI

On Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma took the stage at the World AI Conference in Shanghai to debate artificial intelligence and its implications for humanity. As expected, Ma took a far more optimistic stance than Musk. Ma encouraged people to have faith in humanity, our creativity, and the future. “I don’t think artificial intelligence is a threat,” he said, to which Musk replied, “I don’t know, man, that’s like, famous last words.” An edited transcript of the discussion follows.

Elon Musk: What are we supposed to say? Just things about AI perhaps? Yeah. Okay. Let’s see.

Jack Ma: The AI, right? Okay, great.

Sep 1, 2019

The Science of Near-Death Experiences: Empirically investigating brushes with the afterlife

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, science

Near-death experiences have gotten a lot of attention lately. The 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real, about a young boy who told his parents he had visited heaven while he was having emergency surgery, grossed a respectable $91 million in the United States. The book it was based on, published in 2010, has sold some 10 million copies and spent 206 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Two recent books by doctors—Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander, who writes about a near-death experience he had while in a week-long coma brought on by meningitis, and To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, who had her NDE while submerged in a river after a kayaking accident—have spent 94 and 36 weeks, respectively, on the list. (The subject of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, published in 2010, recently admitted that he made it all up.) Science, cool facts, mind, emotion, breakthrough, science.

Their stories are similar to those told in dozens if not hundreds of books and in thousands of interviews with “NDErs,” or “experiencers,” as they call themselves, in the past few decades. Though details and descriptions vary across cultures, the overall tenor of the experience is remarkably similar. Western near-death experiences are the most studied. Many of these stories relate the sensation of floating up and viewing the scene around one’s unconscious body; spending time in a beautiful, otherworldly realm; meeting spiritual beings (some call them angels) and a loving presence that some call God; encountering long-lost relatives or friends; recalling scenes from one’s life; feeling a sense of connectedness to all creation as well as a sense of overwhelming, transcendent love; and finally being called, reluctantly, away from the magical realm and back into one’s own body.

Sep 1, 2019

Why is immortality once again big business and what does that say about us?

Posted by in categories: business, life extension

The world is seeing rapid technological advancements and, with that, increasingly wealthy technology titans wanting to invest in cutting-edge ventures. But those things aren’t necessarily new, she says.


Academic Amy Fletcher says the meaning of life is that it stops. So why is Silicon Valley so stuck on subverting that?

Sep 1, 2019

“The Phantom Universe” –There’s a New ‘Unknown’ Messing with the Cosmos

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

There’s a crisis brewing in the cosmos. Measurements over the past few years of the distances and velocities of faraway galaxies don’t agree with the increasingly controversial “standard model” of the cosmos that has prevailed for the past two decades. Astronomers think that a 9 percent discrepancy in the value of a long-sought number called the Hubble Constant, which describes how fast the universe is expanding, might be revealing something new and astounding about the universe.

The cosmos has been expanding for 13.8 billion years and its present rate of expansion, known as the Hubble constant, gives the time elapsed since the Big Bang. However, the two best methods used to measure the Hubble constant do not agree, suggesting our understanding of the structure and history of the universe – called the ‘standard cosmological model’ – may be wrong.

There was, writes Dennis Overbye in New York Times Science, a disturbance in the Force: “Long, long ago, when the universe was only about 100,000 years old — a buzzing, expanding mass of particles and radiation — a strange new energy field switched on. That energy suffused space with a kind of cosmic antigravity, delivering a not-so-gentle boost to the expansion of the universe.